Tasmania v Queensland, Sheffield Shield final, Hobart, 2nd day March 23, 2013

Butterworth takes Tigers past 400


Queensland 1 for 12 trail Tasmania 419 (Silk 108, Butterworth 86, Cosgrove 58, Hopes 4-71) by 407 runs

Over a seven-year career for Tasmania, in which he has consistently shown himself to be an apt performer on the big occasions, Luke Butterworth's most notable reward has been a solitary Australia A tour to Zimbabwe in 2011. As he compiled 86 on day two of the Sheffield Shield final against Queensland, his third major score in four competition deciders, it was difficult not to wonder whether Butterworth deserved better.

Until Butterworth walked to the wicket at the fall of the seventh wicket for a mere 269, Tasmania's first innings was marked more by the inert than the expansive. His fluent counterattack, in the company of James Faulkner, gave the Tigers a healthy total, and enough time before the close for Ben Hilfenhaus to surge through Greg Moller's crooked defence with the first ball of the Bulls' innings.

Jordan Silk had reached a stolid 108 in the morning, and George Bailey managed 42, but it was not until Butterworth joined Faulkner that the Tigers were able to wriggle free of a Queensland attack that maintained a disciplined line throughout. Butterworth has enjoyed the most fruitful bowling season of his career, and his languid batting has always seemed to find traction at key moments for the Tigers. Anything short of a berth on the Australia A tour to England that precedes the Ashes this year would be an injustice.

Ponting and Silk resumed with intent to press on from the funereal progress that had typified the first day. However Ponting's contribution was to extend no further than a couple more crisp strokes, as James Hopes' stumps-seeking swinger had the 38-year-old Tasmanian overbalancing and lbw.

Silk punched and prodded to his century, a 341-ball triumph of application over adventure that maintained a decidedly promising start to his first-class career. There was to be some irony to Silk's exit eight runs later, for he perished caught in the deep to a top-edged pull shot. Both the aggression and the error on his most reliable source of runs, were uncharacteristic of his innings.

Bailey was playing neatly in search of only his second half-century in a personally dire Shield season, but he was to lose another two partners soon after lunch. Jon Wells could do little with an outswinger from the persevering Harris, touching it through for Chris Hartley to claim a low catch. In the bowler's next over Tim Paine did less well, as a ball angled back and skidded through, with umpire Simon Fry judging it would have hit leg stump.

These wobbles became more pronounced when Bailey himself departed, pinned in front by Cameron Gannon's inswing for another lbw. Faulkner and Butterworth were thus charged with sustaining an innings that was in serious danger of petering out in mediocre fashion.

So well did they take to this task that the stand reaped 125 in good time, tiring Queensland's bowlers, and lifting Tasmania's total into territory more commensurate with the time that its accumulation had occupied. Usually a more extroverted batsman, Faulkner played within himself, leaving Butterworth the stage on which to demonstrate his now commonplace ease in a final.

Demonstrating a vast array of shots and an elegant approach, Butterworth lit up the afternoon. There were drives, cuts, pull shots and glances, while he had no qualms about advancing to strike Nathan Hauritz boldly down the ground. A century beckoned, but Faulkner was undone by a Hopes delivery that stayed low. Butterworth then touched a ball angled across him to caught behind by Hartley.

Hopes claimed a fourth for the innings when Hilfenhaus was ruled lbw, but the wickets succeeded mainly in leaving the Bulls an awkward session up to stumps that was to prove almost as damaging as Butterworth's batting had been.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • kieran on March 24, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    @ John Clapp, I'm pretty sure Hussey would not place an 8000 run requirement to be selected as a bowling all-rounder. Butterworth or Henriques? I know who I'd take, especially with a tour of England approaching.

  • Dale on March 23, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    @John Verdal. Well Ahmed isn't a young player coming through unfortunately. He is 31 years old. And he would be in India now except the for the fact that his residency/citizenship application is still pending and he can't leave the country till it is approved. Australian immigration are hopeless taking on average 13 months to approve permanent visa's/residency.

    In regards to this game, disappointing to see as usual negative cricket in the shield final. A result should be the only way a champion is crowned. Also dissapointing that QLD are without Khawaja and Cutting. Especially Khawaja since Australia didn't pick him in any of the 4 series which is a joke considering how poor most of our batsmen have been.

  • Andrew on March 23, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    @Roderick Andrews don't know whether the "world would be a better place", but Oz cricket sure would! @Mitty2 on (March 23, 2013, 12:13 GMT) - (IMO) - IF it is our batting that is the concern (obviously is), then we should be batting Wade @ #7 with 6 specialist batsmen. My only concern is workload for a 4-man bowling attack, given Clarke pretty much can't bowl. For the Ashes I would go 1. Warner, 2. Cowan, 3. Watson (providing he plays all tour matches & shows some form AND can bowl), 4. Hughes, 5. Clarke (c), 6. Khawaja/Burns/Smith 7. Wade, 8. O'Keefe, 9. Starc, 10. Siddle, 11. Bird/Pattinson. For the Lords Test - Harris would be the first bowler selected! Omitting Watto (good reasons to do so), my top 7 would be 1. Warner, 2. Cowan, 3. Hughes, 4. Khawaja, 5. Clarke, 6. Burns, 7. Wade.

  • Satish on March 23, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    I 1st saw Luke Butterworth 7 years a go and was very impressed to see a young all rounder the then so called "future prospect".But I knew with Roy,Ronald MC Donald and Jimmy Hopes still relatively young he would have to wait.(of course Mitch Marsh,Faulkner,NCN,Cutting,Moises, would eventually leap a head him).The long injury lay offs did him no favor as well.But if Bryce McGain has taught us anything then its believe.Dreams do come true.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    australia have a fantastic young players coming through. i expect the likes of jordan silk, joe burns, ashton agar, sam whiteman, james faulkner, chadd sayers, nic maddinson and fawad ahmed to push for national selection in one year time. joe burns, fawad ahmed and chadd sayers are most likely to play in ashes series this season. the others need to play one more season.

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    Forget about the constant talk of who is test material. I was at Bellerive today and it was fantastic First class cricket. If players were able to spend more time playing First class cricket and building skills suited to the red ball game then the cricket world would be a better place.

  • Eddie on March 23, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    impressive record butterworth has. but I don't know if his bowling is penetrative enough, just like john hastings. this match looks like a draw already, so the Tasmanians will win. It helps that they went at less than 2 runs an over on the first day

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2013, 12:52 GMT

    @ HatsforBats, Mike Hussey would say you've got to be joking... he has to score at least 4 times that to be considered...

  • Hamish on March 23, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    The fact is, that all of starc, pattinson, siddle, cummings, Harris, butterworth, Faulkner and Johnson are all decent with the bat. The likes of Maxwell and henriques aren't in the best of either departments, whereas all these players are within the best bowlers depending on the conditions and are more than handy with the bat. The all rounder issue needs to be scrapped, and Watson with it. I'm not sure we exactly need 5 bowlers in an ashes test, as the only main issue is the batting, but I doubt any batting line ups would score many against an attack of patto, bird, Harris/starc/Johnson, siddle and Lyon/o'keefe. the five man bowling attack, would, in my opinion, be the best way to exploit our main strength in pace.

    I reckon that just to add that bit of extra batting though, that the number seven position should be solely fought out between Faulkner and butterworth.

    The top 6 should be: cowan warner khawaja Hughes/burns Clarke wade

  • kieran on March 23, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Could it really be true? After 2000 runs & 200 wickets could Butterworth finally be about to receive the recognition he deserves? Not likely with this NSP...but at least we've got Maxwell!

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